In Proverbs 9:1 we read, “Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars” (NIV 1984). What are the seven pillars found in the house of wisdom?
We find them listed for us in the previous chapter in Proverbs 8:12,14 (NIV 1984): I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion… Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power. And note how verses 15 and 16 connect wisdom to leadership.
Understanding is the ability to see the relationships between a series of facts. As such, it is closely related to knowledge. Once we have gathered knowledge, this information must be correlated in our minds so we can understand how things work or how they influence each other. The world uses the scientific method, for example, to show the relationship of various elements. Once an experiment is shown to be repeatable, we arrive at a certain level of understanding. For example, when we apply heat to water, we know that the water boils when it reaches 212ºF (100ºC) at sea level. By combining the facts we know about water and heat, we understand that by turning on a stove and applying heat to the bottom of a pan of water, it will boil at a very specific temperature, given enough heat and time. This type of understanding is useful in life, but it is still short of the goal of wisdom.
Understanding allows us to discern trends or patterns in behavior, seeing whether something is a onetime aberration or the beginning of something new. Understanding patterns of behavior helps us to not only see actions but also discern motivations. Additionally, it helps one see a person’s strengths for contribution and then position them where they can contribute from these strengths. It allows a leader to select and recruit valuable team members who are complementary in their strengths to yield a well-balanced team.
Understanding that leads to godly wisdom includes what we can observe about God’s character manifesting itself in the way He interacts with people in the Bible. For example, we will realize that God makes promises, and that because of His very nature, He does not lie or change. Therefore, we understand that His promises found in Scripture can be trusted. Psalm 119:140 says, “Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.” Our love for God’s promises (and the Promiser) will grow as we prove the promises true by seeing them fulfilled in life.
God gives understanding that can lead us to make wise decisions as Kingdom leaders. Ask Him to give you ‘eyes to see” what is happening around you.
For more thoughts on leading with Kingdom wisdom: Growing Kingdom Wisdom